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Madison Bumgarner of San Francisco Giants strikes out five in spring debut

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The first man to bat against San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner Sunday hit a wind-aided, opposite-field home run. Bumgarner was overpowering after that in his spring training debut against the Chicago Cubs, even if he was lacking some sharpness.

The 2014 World Series MVP got all five outs with strikeouts and allowed two earned runs on four hits in 1⅔ innings in the Cubs’ 12-10 win over the Giants. He left the game with two runners on base and both scored, inflating his final line.

“Felt good physically, that’s really all I’m looking for,” Bumgarner said after his outing. “Every time I tried to get on game speed, I just missed. I was just a touch off of that, which is to be expected I guess, this time of year. Stuff felt fine, besides that, just command. Stuff was a little off. Getting that dialed in, that’s why we’re here.”

Bumgarner shook off Ian Happ‘s solo shot on a full count and struck out the side in the first inning. In between strikeouts he gave up a Kyle Schwarber single and watched Schwarber steal two bases on him, but a called third strike on the outside corner to Efren Navarro ended the inning.

“I thought it was going to be an out coming off the bat. Guess he hit it harder than I thought,” Bumgarner said of the homer. “Doesn’t matter to me either way.”

Catcher Buster Posey said Bumgarner might have been a little too “amped up.” But the pitches looked crisp.

Bumgarner reached his pitch limit in the second inning and was removed.

“Location-wise, it wasn’t what you would expect out of him, but first outing of the spring, it’s going to happen,” Posey said.

Bumgarner’s 2017 season was interrupted by a dirt bike accident during an off day in Colorado on April 20. He suffered bruised ribs and a sprained AC joint, and missed nearly three months.

After six straight seasons with double-digit wins, more than 200 innings and 30-plus starts, Bumgarner went 4-9 in 17 starts and threw just 111 innings in 2017.

“Last year wouldn’t change how I felt about doing that,” Bumgarner said of getting back to his typical innings and starts counts. “I always want to do that.”

Bumgarner said he’d be fine pitching three times in the first nine games of the regular season, which could be the case based on him getting a normal four days’ rest in between starts. That would include the season opener in Los Angeles — for which he has already been named the Opening Day starter — then the Giants’ home opener against Seattle and after that, a home game against the Dodgers on April 8.

“I don’t think it’s being pushed,” Bumgarner said. “Whatever they think’s best. There’s no difference throwing on four days’ rest or five days’ rest, to me.”

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Follow live: Bellinger, Dodgers seek 2-0 series lead

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Los Angeles Dodgers’ Game 1 win of World Series draws record-low viewers

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ARLINGTON, Texas — The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 drew a record-low audience of television viewers for a World Series game.

Los Angeles’ 8-3 win received a 5.1 rating and was seen by an average of 9,195,000 viewers on Fox from 8:06 p.m. to 11:41 p.m. EDT on Tuesday night, Nielsen Media Research said Wednesday.

The previous low had been set the only other time the Rays were in the World Series, when their 5-4 loss to Philadelphia in Game 3 in 2008 was viewed by an average of 9,836,000 that Oct. 25, a Saturday night.

Until now, the low for a Game 1 had been San Francisco’s 7-1 win over Kansas City on Oct. 21, 2012, viewed by an average of 12,191,000 on a Tuesday night.

Washington’s 5-4 victory over Houston in last year’s opener was seen by an average of 12,283,000 on Oct. 22, also a Tuesday night.

Still, Fox won the prime-time evening with its best performance on a Tuesday night since Game 6 of last year’s World Series.

The rating is the percentage of television households tuned in to a broadcast.

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Tampa Bay Rays add two lefty hitters to lineup for Game 2

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Austin Meadows is leading off as the designated hitter for Tampa Bay and first baseman Ji-Man Choi is in the cleanup spot for the Rays in Game 2 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

With rookie right-hander Tony Gonsolin on the mound for the Dodgers on Wednesday night, the left-handed hitters Meadows and Choi were in the lineup after not starting the series opener against lefty Clayton Kershaw. The Rays had five left-handers in the batting order.

Left-hander Blake Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner, is starting for the Rays after right-hander Tyler Tyler Glasnow opened Game 1.

Kike Hernandez, who entered Tuesday’s 8-3 Dodgers win as a pinch-hitter after Glasnow was out of the game, is getting the Game 2 start at second base. Chris Taylor moves to left field, with AJ Pollock the DH and Will Smith the catcher after being the DH in Game 1.

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